Second Grade Summer Reading
Summer reading is a great way to get your child interested in books, on his or her own terms. For the best books for second grade summer reading, we turned to the nation’s finest independent bookstores to get their favorites, from classics to new releases, swashbuckling adventures to the just plain fun, silly or sweet. Here are their recommendations for a summertime full of fantastic books:
The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann Cameron
Seven year-old Juan lives in Guatemala and desperately wants to go to school, but is afraid his grandmother will refuse. A beautifully written story that is and will remain a classic. Recommended by Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO. Where to buy.
The Chet Gecko Mystery Series by Bruce Hale
A humorous detective series about a wisecracking lizard who solves punny mysteries such as The Malted Falcon. Recommended by Powell’s Books, Portland, OR. Where to buy.
Frederick Finch, Loudmouth by Tess Weaver
Frederick’s chronic loudness is an impediment as he strives to win a ribbon at the state fair in this great read-aloud. He can’t change, but perhaps he can find his special niche. Recommended by Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, IA. Where to buy.
End of the Beginning by Avi
If you're looking for a wonderful little adventure to remind you of why you loved Frog & Toad, try Avon and Edward on for size. The black and white illustrations, short chapters, and wordplay make this novel a treat for any age. Recommended by 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL. Where to buy.
Emily by Michael Bedard
A lovely story about American poet Emily Dickinson. Recommended by Linden Tree Children’s Recordings and Books, Los Altos, CA. Where to buy.
Want to see more from Education.com’s book list? Here’s a collection of our favorite books for second grade:
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Mary Azarian (Houghton Mifflin, 1998)
One man uses his dream of photographing snowflakes to create a gift for the world. This picture book biography is rich with discussion points, and is a pleasure to share across the grade levels.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2004)
A hilarious Zen guide to elementary education in the schoolhouse that was built thirty stories high.
Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2007)
When Naima tries to maneuver her father's beautiful, newly-painted rickshaw, it appears she has brought rack and ruin to her family, possibly even causing her mother to sell a cherished bangle that has been passed down through generations. Dressed as a boy, she tries to create a new solution that will prevent further hardship. A wonderful example of modern multicultural children’s literature.
The Empty Pot by Demi (Henry Holt and Co., 2007
An emperor announces a gardening contest to find his successor, but fraudulent foliage among the competitors is sprouting like weeds. The king has a trick up his sleeve to find the worthy winner. This parable brings home the importance of honesty without being preachy. Did you know this illustrator has been known to use a mouse’s whisker to paint these lovely, jeweled pictures?
Poop by Nicola Davies (Candlewick Press, 2007)
Every page flows over with absolutely fascinating fecal facts, from the double-dose of digesting power that pellets afford to rabbits or the tell-tale dumps of sloths, otters and hippos that speak (or stink) louder than words. Overall, a remarkably engaging and informative science book that rises far above its genre's foul beginnings, and will make a novice scientist out of your favorite fart-joke-teller (you know you have one). I love this book so much, I keep a copy in my own bathroom.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
This title character is everything a child wants--she's the widow of a pirate and lives in an upside down house which always smells of freshly baked cookies. Parents love her because she has a cure for everything, including the "Slow Eater Tiny Bite Taker" and "Won't-Pick-Up-Toys-itis." It's an easily digested chapter book with a light-hearted tone, and chock full of helpful messages for parents and kids alike.
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater
This story of a humble house painter who receives a surprise package straight from the South Pole is one of the funniest early chapter books we've ever read. Kids will delight in the mayhem that ensues as a pack of penguins takes over the apartment-- tobogganing down the kitchen stairs, building nests in the icebox, and skating around the snowdrifts that have formed in the cellar. A truly silly story-perfect for this age group, but also a great jumping off point for discussions about early exploration and discovery at Antarctica.
Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Marc Simont
Nate the Great, a pancake loving, Sam Spade spouting, grade school private eye has a bravado perfect for this age set, who don't want books for "little kids" anymore. Still, underneath the swagger, the short chapters and simple words are just right for blossoming readers. Case closed.
Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Anholt
A shy teenager named Sylvette has the good fortune of meeting the most famous artist in the world, becomming his model for a summer, and going on to paint great works herself. This remarkable true story of developing self-confidence was told to Anholt by Sylvette herself.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.
This is a book typical of the 1940s. It's obviously old fashioned, and yet the theme of bullying, of being an outsider in class, and of children's ultimate responsibility to one another, is timeless. Encountering this book again took my breath away. It could have been written in 2007. That's because Estes stayed true to the essence of childhood. Fashion changes, but those things that are inherent to childhood don't change.
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles.
In this fanciful book, 9-year-old Elmer Elevator travels to distant Wild Island to free a baby dragon enslaved by wild animals. This is one of the books that I tell parents not to miss, that they often have missed in their child's younger years. It's just magic with a child in this age group. And you could read it easily to a kindergartener, because it's a series of adventures.
A Daring Guide for Young Adventurers by Henry Hardcastle
Those who dare crack the covers of this beautifully illustrated and imagined book will find themselves invited to join the Society of Intrepid Explorers by its founder, Sir Henry Hardcastle. What follows is an introduction to the various types of exploration (jungle, ocean, deep sea, mountain, and desert), as well as information about the brave explorers who have come before. The book’s inventive structure--with pop-ups of ziggurats and Egyptian tombs, secret envelopes, excerpts from journals, and beautiful illustrations--make it a must-have for aspiring adventurers young and old.
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